This phrase, or more exactly, an outcry full of suffering, lives in my memory for ever, as it has been repeated a thousand times during my early years and fortified by various physical and psychological impacts. When I grew up, it also could not be forgotten, as it still reaches our ears time after time, and from everywhere and in different variations – this is an ongoing process of “parenting”…
It is amazing. All of us differentiate very well what is tasty and what is yucky, everybody understands it is pleasant to eat something tasty, and something yucky is unpleasant and nobody wants to eat it. Anybody will easily differentiate a nice touch from an unpleasant kick. In many life spheres we easily differentiate good from bad and choose good. Advertising appeals to us to choose the tastiest, the most comfortable and the most pleasant things. At the same time, when at home with their families, the same ad people, while spending months and millions to create ads and encourage people to choose the tastiest, the most pleasant and comfortable, they make their best to suppress their own wishes and especially the wishes of their children and grandchildren. What kinds of epithets were only found to pin their children’s wishes to a whipping post! But human nature is strong and this is why only words are not enough, so fists and belts are used, as well as other repressive acts and home arrest. Surprisingly, but by some unknown reason people refuse to differentiate pleasant and unpleasant wishes. I call them “happy wishes” and “mechanical wishes”. If there is no chance to suppress the differentiation of wishes, people use the concepts of “duty”, “decencies” and other bullshit. It successfully helps to overpower the happy wishes and be overwhelmed by mechanical and joyless wishes.
This approach, suppressing all lively spirit, is easy to understand in times of the dictatorship. The task is to transform people into cattle, make them believe their happy wishes are a freak, and then these crowds can be directed as per the dictator’s will. The USSR achieved the best skills in the craft of suicide, and now North Koreans and other builders of the communist, Christian, Muslim and other paradise carry on practicing this craft. Being guided by tawdry pictures of the happy future for their grandchildren, they lived in super-abominable, depraved conditions of taiga and swamps, though in towns life was not any better. Working from sunrise to sunset and receiving nothing for this hard work, following the doctrine of the happy future, nobody must have contemplated – what is it like, this happy future of the generations to come? It hardly could be slaving away and dying in misery and illnesses, otherwise what’s the point of the sacrifice? Apparently, the future generations have to be able to live in comfort, joy and have enough good food. Apparently. As an example, we can take Efremov’s books, which were published in the Soviet period. This imaginary happy life was described there and it served as a prototype and inspired large masses of young people for the labouring achievements. In these books people of the Soviet future still worked hard, they again were dedicated to some new duty. But it is worth mentioning their work was described as happy, people were wearing beautiful clothes, had tasty food, spent much time reading or out in the great outdoors, except, perhaps, did not have sex (sex has always been, is and will be for quite a long time a forbidden pleasure). Well, if all the Soviet people worked hard for the sake of the happy future for future generations, if they sacrificed their time, health, life – does it mean that this future is wonderful and the life style of the future generations is also wonderful? Does it mean that if somebody was lucky to have a piece of this future happiness, it would be also wonderful?
By no means!
If somebody in the Soviet society spent his honestly earned miserable wages in purchasing jeans from the overseas, he was a person for whipping, a scapegoat, a moral freak in the eyes of the ideological leaders, and consequently in the eyes of the whole working class. Fashion, entertainments, arts – all had to be officially accepted and approved by the authorities, the rest was called stagnation and betrayal.
This nasty filth is incredibly survivable. There still are sometimes, even in the modern publications, the words of approval in the address of tyrants, who tyrannized not only others, but themselves as well. For example, any author of Stalin’s biography approvingly and respectfully mentioned the leader lived frugally and even ascetically – a table, a chair, high boots and uniform jacket – actually, these were all his belongings. Lenin’s and Hitler’s lifestyle was also described in quite nice colours, as for luxuriating Goering – extremely disapprovingly – there, bloody sybarite… And what is actually there in it to be approved? Let us presume a certain person forces other people to cut off testicles, tongue and nose, more than that, he also castrates himself in the same way. Shall we write about him respectfully that he impersonated the example of the lifestyle he forced on people? Stalin was a castrate and a monster, rejecting the pleasures of good food, beautiful clothes, various sex and many other pleasures. Why is it so good? Nevertheless, there is no biography of any Fuhrer, where this kind of self-castration would be dispraised, it is approved – only more or less emotionally.
Definitely, crowds of people, organized in one and the same direction, can achieve many tasks and do it very quickly. History of the USSR is a good example of such an approach. They launched sputnik, produced nuclear bombs, constructed Baikal-Amur Mainline and so on and so forth. Oh, yes, nearly forgot – won the war! At war whatever means necessary – all is good, isn’t it? From the Soviet point of view – yes, it is. From the point of view of the community, which values human life – no. I want to mention Eisenhower for an example. During the cold war between the USSR and USA he was the only person with power in his hands (and what a person – the President!), who made his best, risking anything and everything, to reduce the arms race and limit the USA army. He obstructed investing astronomically large amounts of finances into producing nuclear bombs, tanks, aircraft carriers, ballistic missiles, and even satellites that were so popular among American and Soviet people. He expressed his position as the following: let us remember that the armed forces should protect the way of life, not just land, property and lives. What do I have to do to make the Chiefs of Stuff realize: they have the authority, intellect and training to maintain the balance between the costly military weapons and the well-being of our economy. He repeated this thought many times – that it is the way of life we protect, not only our wealth, our properties and houses… if we have to militarize our country – “the problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without”. In the result Eisenhower did not yield to panic, he was absolutely categorical in resisting the incredible pressure from everybody to start the program of constructing radioactive shelters and scaling up armaments, including nuclear weapons during the worst period of tension in the Soviet-American relationship after the launch of the first Soviet sputnik.
“Way of life”! This is what has been so important for Eisenhower – the possibility to stay a man, not a cog in a machine. Ok, this was during the peaceful period, the USA was a superpower, and so on. But in the Second World War, when Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the allied forces of the USA and UK, when the destiny of Humankind was at stake, humanism was not too much to worry about, everything had to be done for the victory, right? No, it is not right. Below is the story, which is practically unimaginable for somebody with a Soviet life experience. Among the subordinate generals Eisenhower had two, who were the most trustworthy, reliable and supportive – Patton and Bradley. During his visit to a military hospital, Patton saw a soldier, who seemed to be absolutely healthy. “What the hell are you doing here?” – Patton asked in amazement. By the way, Patton was one of the most hot-tempered generals, the one to expect irritable escapades or rude declamations from. The soldier answered he could not go on at war, he needed treatment due to his upset nerves, just the sound of artillery bombardment brought him to hysteria. After saying that, the soldier cried. It infuriated Patton, he cursed the solder and slapped him twice (oh Gosh, twice!) in front of the doctors and other soldiers.
The great killer Zhukov would have shot him and a couple of others for intimidation on the spot. He would not care – being a warlord that without a wince crunched hundreds and thousands of soldiers in the meat mincers like Yelnya. Though he would not be able to do it, because other commanders and political officers of lower rank would do it earlier. It was different in the American army. When Eisenhower was reported of the incident, he thought that if it was revealed to the public, Patton would be scalped and it would be the end of his military career. He could not afford it, because Patton was indispensable and a guarantor of victory. Nevertheless, he could not hush it up, a big scandal in mass media broke out and only due to the popularity and authority of Eisenhower, Patton was saved from shameful retiring. In his private letter to Patton, Eisenhower wrote: “I am well aware of the necessity for hardness and toughness on the battlefield. I clearly understand the firm and drastic measures are at times necessary in order to secure desired objectives. But this does not excuse brutality, abuse of the sick, nor exhibition of uncontrollable temper in front of subordinates”. He also ordered Patton to write his own unofficial report of the incident and offer an apology to the soldier, nurses and doctors.
This is the protection of the way of life.
Nevertheless, regardless of the abilities to survive, this nasty filth of happy wishes suppression will not hold out. Like other stinking hydra, it will not survive in its fight… with economy. Economy is merciless. The Dollar or the Rouble – whether you have it or not, and if you do not have it, no matter how much you intellectualize, it will not buy food for you. People want to have dollars, they want to receive pleasures, this is why the economy is growing and developing, and along with it – advertising, which explains every minute, every day and decades – “choose the best, the most comfortable, the most pleasant”. No state social propaganda can compete with this consolidated advertising power. Regardless of the strong moral principles of self-castrators, as well as parental power over children even in such a wild country as Russia, they will not survive. They lost the battle at the moment, when the iron curtain fell, and the real economy and real life burst into the country. Advertising is everywhere, it is pervasive like bacteria and its main point is – choosing the best, the most pleasant and the most comfortable.
The result is obvious and unavoidable – people start choosing the best. It does not cover only products. People want to choose not only products, but a way of life. This is why the notion of a “happy wish” will unavoidably stop being something odd and it will become a natural contradistinction with mechanical wishes. The communist paranoids condemned “the consumer community” fanatically, but it will spread all over and knock out the hydra of self-raping, as sure as like towns and gardens grow from the ashes again. The Western world has already moved forward, compared to Russia. In many European and American countries children can (theoretically, of course) have governmental protection from parental despotism, if their rights are abused. More than that, in many families the parents even explain to children they can apply to child protection authorities, if it seems to them that they need it. But of course they add: “but if you do it, it will kill your grandmother, you will stay without your father and mother, and you will VERY, VERY unhappy…” Still this is a step forward, and there will be more and more of these steps, as the economy will not permit to move backwards. Nobody will gain, including those parents, if the community stops being the community of consumers and transforms into the society of ascetics, it would result in the economy and society crash.
It is very easy to differentiate happy wishes from the mechanical wishes, so easy, that if anybody reads a chapter, dedicated to happy wishes in my book “Selection of Attractive States”, he will never forget it, even if he rejects it due to his old habits and condemns the “capricious people of pleasures”. Happy wishes are accompanied with anticipation and enthusiasm. Mechanical wishes, triggered by a sense of “duty”, “morals”, “ethic” and so on, are hard and “crushing”. Compare your wish to play a favourite game or watch a football match with a wish to go to your grandmother’s birthday party! The first wish is joyful – and you want it desperately. The second wish is lifeless, hard and poisonous. You telling yourself: “I should not hurt my grandmother, she will suffer if I do not go and visit her, ok, shit, I’ll go…” And following this wish, you go to this fucking grandmother and you just feel that it kills you. This is instead of saying to her: “listen, you have your life, I have mine. If you feel bored – stop sitting and decomposing. Here is a list of what you can do to find your own interests and develop them – do it, do not sit on your bum, do something! Read books, learn languages, carving, do cross-country running, make a trek to Annapurna, where tens of thousands of European old people go, paint, write, teach children – DO something!” That would be a real help. But when you drag yourself there to your goofy grandmother, being guided only by the sense of duty, sit there due time and leave to face the next “I have to”, thus you slowly kill yourself and others.
Once people will understand all this – it is unavoidable due to the common sense and pursuit of happiness, if not, then due to the economy pressure and the related cult of the healthy and pleasant life style. And then the chapter “Cultivation of happy wishes” will be read to tatters, and subsequently – other sections about enlightened perceptions.